My man pride has been bruised. Worse, Nobull are making me blog about the whole thing. Oh how the office howled when they found out I'd taken Smudge to a garage. Hashtag fail or what, eh?
During one of my regular trips to the scrapyard for running repairs, I'd noticed a 'new' delivery in the yard in the shape of an Astra, identical to 'Smudge' every detail, but with a new back box rather than one made of rust and holes.
I knew I had to do something about the exhaust when, giving a lift to a friend, he commented "Hey Tim, have you got a dodge badboy pipe on this thing?" Considering he was in the front passenger seat with the radio on and windows up, this was the sure sign I needed to do something about it.
Spotting this Astra in the yard, I had the car down off the rack and onto an inspection ramp quick time before anyone else spotted it. Like a lion with a fresh carcass, I had the shiny 'new' back box, along with a couple of other spares, in my proud little hands just 10 minutes later.
Like seven year old on Christmas morning, I was under Smudge with the socket set in a flash, ready to fit the new box and to claim my next achievement. However, the Astra had other ideas. The bolts holding the current collection of rust had all but fused together. Realising a Halford's ratchet set and half a pound of elbow grease was going to be no match, I threw in the towel and picked up the phone to admit defeat to the local garage.
It took the professionals just 15 minutes to fit the replacement box. I believe that was the salt for the already open wound. And there was plenty of colleagues ready to help rub it in when I came back from collecting it that morning.
Still, at least they can't hear me coming and going now...
You can follow updates from Smudge and Our Tim on the Nobull blog or on Twitter @Our_Tim